Take Action: International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook

CEL member  Phil Kingston expresses his concerns which arise from the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2011, particularly the temperature changes which it predicts.

At the end of this article there are 6 draft letters that can be used to publicise this concern

The present national and international agreement is to limit average global temperature increases since the beginning of the industrial revolution to 2 degrees Centigrade. To achieve this, the government has agreed to keep carbon dioxide levels to the internationally agreed 450 parts per million (although there is well founded evidence that this is not enough and a much more reliable figure is 350ppm).

The IEA is an agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development so coming from such a source, two statements in the Executive Summary of this report are surprising and shocking. The first refers to the gross inadequacy of current policies presently in place by world governments with regard to limiting average global temperatures to 2 degrees Centigrade. It states that with these current policies ‘we are … on …. track for a temperature increase of 6 degrees Centigrade or more.’  Should governments, including that of the UK, implement new policies already agreed but not yet in place,  ‘the world is on a trajectory that results in a level of emissions consistent with a long-term average temperature increase of more than 3.5 degrees Centigrade.’

The second statement is that ‘Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permissible by 2035 are already ‘locked-in’ by our existing capital stock (power plants, buildings, factories etc. )‘. The report goes on to say that if stringent action is not taken to limit new plant which is planned to be built by 2017, then by that date CO2 emissions will be such that they will leave ‘no room for additional power plants, factories and other infrastructure unless they are zero-carbon’. 

The seriousness and urgency of these temperature scenarios for our descendents, for other life-forms and for the world’s poorest peoples cannot be overestimated. 


In fairness to the report, it continues the sentence ‘…. Unless they are zero-carbon’ with ‘which would be extremely costly’. This reference to cost makes no sense unless the technology to transform infrastructure to zero-carbon emissions is both feasible and available. People who understand the second law of thermodynamics tell me that it is not feasible; and the WEO Summary in any case offers no evidence of it being available within the time-scale necessary.)


It therefore seems that if the planned development of infrastructure to 2017 goes ahead, then it will not be possible to limit the long-term temperature increase to 2 degrees Centigrade. The letters  you can download below are templates of letters sent to the following:

1. An MP who, when we met to discuss the above information,  explained to that he is ‘open-minded’ as to whether global warming is related to human-induced carbon emissions.  letter to MP

2. The Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills.   letter to Minister for BIS

3. The Minister for Defra (as lead Ministry for the Rio+20 meeting in June). letter to Defra

4. The Minister for International Development. letter to DfID

5. The Minister for Energy and Climate Change. letter to DECC

6. Local newspapers to alert the public to the WEO 2011. letter to local papers


These letters can all be put in your own style if you want to make use of them. Phil Kingston



Author: | Date: 4 April, 2012 | Category: Action | Comments: 0

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